Your German shepherd is more than just your dog; they’re part of your family. You want to be sure that they’re eating right so they can live a long, healthy life.
Feeding your dog anything they want is not the way to ensure they have a healthy diet. Instead, study and implement these ten essential German shepherd diet tips.
1. Check protein levels
One of the biggest things that is missing in any dog’s diet is protein! German shepherds, in particular, need to have a lot of protein in their diet to ensure they can sustain their muscle mass. As a working dog breed, muscle sustain is very important.
A healthy German shepherd diet should have at least 25% protein.
Protein helps your dog’s body do many important functions:
- Provides energy
- Builds muscles
- Repairs muscle damage
- Creates nail, hair, and skin cells
- Strengthens the immune system
- Improves bone strength
Protein is key; this is the first thing that you should double-check about your dog’s diet.
2. Limit fat intake
On the flip side, German shepherds only need a minimal amount of fat in their diet. Generally speaking, adult dogs shouldn’t be getting more than 5% fat in their diet.
Fat is important for energy levels and cellular function, but too much fat leads to overweight, lethargic dogs. Balancing fat and protein is a key part of maintaining a healthy German shepherd diet.
3. Split up feeding
Rather than letting your dog have a bowl they eat from all day, we recommend feeding your dog two or three times a day.
This is good for your dog’s energy levels, protein management, and overall health. Additionally, it helps to create a routine for them each day.
4. Read the label
No matter what food you decide to feed your dog, take time to look at the label and make sure that it has a good ingredients list. If you see by-products like bone or intestines as the first ingredients in dog food, you probably want to keep looking!
Feeding your dog high-quality food is vital for their overall health. Take time to learn about what makes good dog food and consider a dog food brand that uses specific information about your dog such as breed, age, and activity level when creating their meals. This may be time-consuming, but your dog is well worth the investment. Ideally, you can find a food that has muscle meat as one of the first ingredients.
5. Adjust food amounts as needed
Dog food labels recommend the amount of food that your dog should eat, but you need to make personalized adjustments to that amount.
Every dog is different. Whether you’re feeding a pure-bred German shepherd or a mixed dog, your dog might need a different caloric intake than the recommended amount.
Food necessity changes based on how active your dog is and what its metabolism is like. Pay attention to how hungry your dog is and its weight trends. From there, you can make adjustments to ensure a healthy German shepherd diet.
6. Always change diet gradually
Whenever you need to change your dog’s diet, remember that you should do this gradually. Changing food on your German shepherd suddenly is sure to cause them some digestive issues.
Switch between foods gradually by mixing the old food with the new food for a few weeks, gradually increasing the amount of the new food. Eventually, your dog will be eating only the new food.
7. Choose high-quality treats
We all love giving our dog treats, but the treats you choose out for your German Shepherd must be high-quality! Look for treats that are low in calories and fat for the best health results.
8. Avoid dangerous foods
Don’t forget that many foods are dangerous to dogs. Even if your German shepherd is a tough dog, they may be just as affected by these hazardous foods. In particular, avoid the following to prevent illness and digestive unrest:
- Macadamia nuts
- Spicy foods
- Greasy foods
- Salty foods
9. Don’t forget water!
Make sure that your German Shepherd is drinking enough water every single day.
Your dog’s body is made up of a large portion of water, and water is necessary for its body to function optimally. Most dogs will drink sufficient water as long as it is available to them, but some may not.
If your dog is not drinking enough water, feeding them wet food or vegetables that are high in water content can be a good way to improve this issue.
10. Other food options for a healthy German shepherd diet
Finally, remember that feeding your dog dry kibble is not the only option that you have. Many German shepherd owners cook food specifically for their dogs; others mix in all-natural or raw food from time to time.
It’s great to try different diet types, but be sure that any plan you prepare meets the necessary nutritional standards for a healthy German shepherd diet. Check-in with your vet or a dog dietitian to be sure.